If you and your partner have children and are separating, you may assume that a court would prefer that the children remain with their mother. Certainly in the past, there was a legal presumption in favor of mothers. Today, it’s much more common for both parents to participate in raising their children together and the law has done away with the presumption favoring a custody award to mothers.
What can you do if you are seeking custody?
To start, remember that this isn’t a matter of winning or losing. The goal is to create the best arrangement for your children. In most situations, that will include the involvement of and time with both parents. On the whole, judges want to see that you’re willing to communicate and cooperate with your partner on all matters related to the children. The judge will generally be looking to see if one or both of you are able to do the following:
- Show a willingness to work with your partner
- Spend time with your children
- Attend your children’s activities or events
- Respect the other parent by showing up on time for custodial visits, pickups and drop-offs
- Avoid talking negatively about the other parent and/or discussing the case in the presence of the children
Being reasonable during custody negotiations is crucial for showing your best side to the court. Your attorney should work closely with you to help protect your rights.